Travelling to Paris for the first time can be overwhelming. Apart from the excitement of visiting the city of lights, you need to make decisions regarding booking a flight and accommodation, as well as, organising local transportation. As Paris is a large metropolis, with an extensive transportation network, with this guide, we will help you to get around Paris like a local.
1. Arrive in Paris
As one of the top travel destinations in the world, Paris has good worldwide connections by air and land. Many tourists fly to Paris, while travellers from the UK and the neighbouring countries, often find the train as a better alternative.
Three international airports serve Paris. Charles de Gaulle Airport handles flights to almost every part of the globe, while Orly Airport serves domestic and European destinations. Beauvais Airport is a little bit further from the city but convenient for arriving by budget airlines like Wizzair and Ryanair. Public transport, airport taxis and private Paris airport transfer services are available from all airports.
2. Get around Paris by public transport
RATP is the company that runs the extensive public transportation network in Paris. It includes the metro, trams, RER suburban trains, buses and night buses (Noctilien). A single ticket is valid for all public transport modes within city limits.
Paris metro is the backbone of public transportation in the capital of France. The metro network is more than 200 km long and consists of 16 lines. Metro lines 2 and 6 have their routes above ground most of the way, so they offer spectacular views of the city. While driving on metro line 6, you can see the Eiffel Tower near the Bir-Hakeim station, while line 2 passes near the Sacre Coeur.
Although most of the time the metro is the fastest way to travel around Paris, sometimes it makes sense to ride the RER instead. Visitors rarely use the five high-speed commuter trains (RER lines A, B, C, D, E), because they may seem complicated at first. However, they have fewer stops than the metro and can be faster. For example, they journey by RER train from Denfert-Rochereau to Gare du Nord takes 20 minutes, while the same route is ten minutes slower by the metro.
Paris trams are not popular among tourists, as the metro is a better alternative. The tram network was re-introduced at the end of the 20th century. Currently, it operates with seven lines.
Buses are an efficient way to reach different parts of the city area due to the high coverage. Approximately 64 bus lines operate alongside and complement the metro. Paris buses run on special lanes on the main roads, so the travel time has significantly improved. The bus service is available from 7:00 to 20:30, with several bus lines operating till 00:30. After 00:30, the night buses Noctilien take over. Around 47 bus lines serve Paris and the surrounding area.
3. Paris taxi service and car rental
Paris has an abundance of taxi vehicles that can take you to any destination in the greater city area. The Paris taxi service is regulated, and there are strict guidelines for taxi companies.
All licensed taxis have illuminated “Taxi Parisien” sign on their roofs and a meter showing the cost of the trip. They charge by the meter, while for transfers from the airports, a flat rate applies. You can hail a taxi on the street, take one at the taxi ranks or call a local Paris taxi company.
Rent a car in Paris is an excellent choice for explorers. If you plan to get off the beaten path, car rental will give you the freedom to follow your itinerary. Most visitors book the service online and pick up the car at the airport when they arrive.
4. Private Paris taxi transfers and day tours
To avoid public transport crowds, you can book a private Paris taxi. This service is fully personalised according to your needs. A professional driver is at your disposal, and he can take you to any destination in Paris area. The price is fixed, and you can hire a private taxi for a few hours.
Day tours are excellent for exploring the nearby area and visit some of the main attractions, like Versailles. Instead of going with a group, you can arrange a private tour with a guide and a private vehicle. You can customise the tour according to your preferences, and add more attractions to your itinerary.